Container traffic can go east or west, and Europe to Japan can use the Suez Canal, or the Panama Canal, or let one of the North American transcontinentals use the land bridge.

The Russian rail system is also competing.
The express container train from Nakhodka-Vostochnaya takes just 7 days to reach Moscow and travels non-stop, bypassing the sorting stations en route, thus greatly improving container delivery times from the Far East to Moscow.

The current fast container service takes 11-14 days to reach Moscow, while shipping containers on the Trans-Siberian takes up to 20 days under normal conditions. Sea freight from Asia to Europe via the Suez Canal can take as little 16 days and as much as 28 days depending on which ports are used and which routes are sailed.

Russia and [Russian Railroad] are facing potential new competition for Asia – Europe rail freight in the form a new “Silk Road” rail corridor coming together as a joint effort between several former Soviet Union republics in central Asia such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan plus Iran, Turkey and perhaps even Afghanistan and western provinces in the Peoples Republic of China.
The Russian railroaders show great resourcefulness, using surplus gondolas as intermodal platforms.

Chita city administration photograph courtesy Destination: Freedom.

A math problem:  The Trans-Siberian is electrified from Moscow to the Pacific Coast.  Suppose the railroad's managers decide to raise the catenary (let's say, by three meters) in order to provide clearance for double-stack cars the length of the route.  Would you rather provide the catenary poles for the project, or the conductor wire?

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